Recently I found myself sat in my car, crying for no reason. It was a Monday, I was in the work car park and it was just before I was due to walk in and start my day.
The weekend before I had wrestled with headaches, nausea and generally feeling low, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why I was feeling so sad. It was like a wave came over me. Everything felt heavy and pained, including my thoughts.
At first I blamed it on the headache and thought I was just being a bit grumpy, but by Monday morning when I was in tears in the car park, I realised something else was going on. I felt a painfully familiar sense of wanting things to ‘stop’, wanting to pause life and just retreat under my duvet.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like this from time to time. Suddenly going from content to sad with no explanation.
The worst thing about it was not being able to explain to people what was up. I spent most of the weekend with Dan and couldn’t tell him why I was feeling like this… and that’s frustrating for everyone. All I knew was that I wasn’t feeling good.
By Tuesday evening, I was crying again, but this time from laughter. Just like that, the wave passed and I felt back to normal (even though the headache was still bothering me).
I thought I would record here what I did, what I didn’t do and what ultimately helped as reference for me and also as it may help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
I will stress however that everyone is different and there may be underlying reasons why all of us find ourselves feeling low sometimes, but hey – gotta start somewhere right?
What I did
Asked for what I needed. On the Saturday I had zero energy and zero brain capacity, so me and Dan went for a walk, watched Rick and Morty and he went out to get us dinner (and wine). It was exactly what I needed and it really helped.
Ate whatever I wanted. Which was mostly chocolate. It was necessary.
Journaled… kinda. So I didn’t actually end up taking pen to paper, but I feel like I mentally journaled about why I was feeling like this. Every time I had a quiet moment to myself (usually in the shower) I thought about what brought this on. And to be totally honest? I came up blank. There were no culprits, no dark clouds – nothing but blue sky and sunshine.
What I didn’t do
Exercise. My headache and low energy levels meant I just did not want to do any exercise. In hindsight, yoga would have probably helped, but I just wanted to give myself permission to drop any ‘shoulds’ in my routine and feel free for a bit.
Talk about it in great depth. This goes against everything I know about mental health, but in this instance I just didn’t feel like I had anything to talk about. I didn’t know what was causing it or how to help, so I didn’t go into great detail when discussing it. I did however discuss it.
Lie to people. I considered it. I thought about just saying nothing and pretending I was fine, especially at work. But I realised I shouldn’t be ashamed of it, so when people asked how I was, I said I wasn’t feeling great. As mentioned above, I didn’t go into depth, but I didn’t sugar coat it either or brush it off.
Listening to ‘From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl‘ podcast
There was an episode about ‘manifesting’ and it talked about putting your trust in the universe that everything is how it should be and everything will work out as it’s supposed to. In that moment, it was what I needed to hear and it helped shift my thinking.
Going out for dinner with Dan
This was on the Tuesday evening, we hadn’t been out on a ‘date night’ for a while and we were both in really silly moods. The whole night was spent talking, eating and laughing.
Spending real quality time with him just reminded me what’s important. Love. People. That’s what it’s all about. And as quickly as it came, my low mood lifted. It was like I was feeling a little lost and was reminded of where my home is – with the people I love.
The most important part of this experience for me was to remember that mental health is a constant thing we have to contend with and that we can all have blips, no matter how happy we think we are.
Being more honest and open about it than I would have been in the past showed me how much I’ve learned. I also know the next steps I would have taken, had the mood not improved over time – I certainly would not have hesitated to ask for help.
Anyway, not sure quite how useful this post is… but hey, it felt worthy of recording. Let me know if you ever feel like this too in the comments and how you pull yourself out of it – let’s help each other.